The Needles Marine Conservation Zone

Status: protected


Sea hare (Credit Alison Mayor) Sea hare (Credit Alison Mayor)

Majestic sea hares can be found mating within seagrass beds.

One of only a handful of locations of peacock’s tail seaweed.

Inshore around Alum Bay and the Needles, the seabed is predominantly chalk reefs with deep gullies; it’s rich in seaweeds. In Totland and Colwell Bays, the seabed is largely sandy and supports seagrass meadows, which in turn host breeding colonies oF sea hares – a type of marine slug.

This site contains the only record of the stalked jellyfish Lucernariopsis campanulata in this region. It is also one of only a handful of locations of peacock’s tail seaweed – a brown alga that prefers warm water and is thought to be restricted in this country to Devon, Dorset and the Isle of Wight.

This area is an important site for black-headed gulls, cormorants and other seabirds which come to forage for food.


Dive video of this site

Other nearby MCZs

Yarmouth to Cowes

Location map

The Needles recommended MCZ is located in the map below.

Contains UKHO Law of the Sea data. Crown copyright and database right and contains Ordnance Survey Data Crown copyright and database 2012


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